NEWS

Temporary school welcomed by students in Aupaluk, Que.

02/20/2015 02:28 EST | Updated 04/22/2015 05:59 EDT
Nearly a year after a fire destroyed the only school in Aupaluk, students in Nunavik's smallest community are still learning in a series of makeshift classrooms in the old municipal office and the Sukliateet Child Care Centre. 

But since the end of November, a new temporary building has added four more classrooms and a large exercise room.

"The first temporary buildings were quite small, so it is really, definitely welcome," says Jade Bernier, a public relations officer for the Kativik School Board.

About 175 people live in Aupaluk, on the western shore of Ungava Bay. When the school burned down, residents lost not only a place of learning, but one of the community's most significant public spaces.

Bernier says this temporary building likely won't fill that void.

"It definitely is not large enough to contain a whole community, so I guess that's one of the objectives with the new school to have a gym that also the community will be able to use for community events."

The $600,000 prefabricated building was paid for by Quebec's Ministry of Education. While the community will depend on it for more than just a few months, Bernier says it's still "an emergency measure," until the new school can be built.

"Since right after the fire, basically, the planning for the construction of the new building has started. So, a location has been selected," she says, adding that the new school will likely be built on the land where the old building once stood.

"The school board is working with architects and engineers on the planning even pending the formal approval of the allocation of funds for reconstruction."

Bernier says once the money is officially approved, the board will move ahead with construction of the new school as quickly as possible.

When the new school is built, Bernier says she isn't sure if the temporary building will be maintained, or "transformed into some other type of space for the youth of the school."

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